I’ve begun to see into just how radically more chaotic
society is in Venezuela. Last Wednesday night I witnessed a dog fight from the
hotel roof-terrace. I was reading when I started to hear the squealing At first
I thought it was the elevator moving against its shaft, but as it continued, I
could make out the occasional bark. After a minute or so, I walked to the
railing to investigate, and could see 4 men lot of the body shop next door
standing around a large, white dog, and a smaller, grungier looking one.
Shortly after, they pulled the dogs away from each other, and I could see that
the smaller dog had been muzzled the entire time.
I stayed by the railing because I still wasn’t sure if what
I saw was really a fight, but 2 minutes later they loosed the white dog, and
the squealing started all over again. When I went to the hotel staff find out
whether or not it was illegal, they told simply that it wasn’t on their
property, and nothing could be done. I’m still not sure whether that means it
is illegal, or if it just isn’t enforceable.
Last weekend we had our mid-project retreat in a town 8
hours away called Merida. Merida is a beautiful city at the foothills of the
Andes -which meant that we got to feel cool air for the 1st time since
leaving D.C. I caught up on reading for Bible study, and a few of us went
canyoning on Saturday too. We also stopped in at an ice cream shop that has the
world’s largest (and weirdest) selection. Dan got a scoop of shimp and one of
cheese! … and definitely regretted it later.
This country’s really stuck. I met a student yesterday who
told me about how he father lost his job when the administration switched over
a few years back. He still hasn’t found another formal job. She’s in mechanical
engineering, expecting to graduate in December, but is frustrated that in order
to be hired, she must affiliate with the Socialist Party. If she doesn’t, she
won’t get hired.
Everywhere you look you can find signs of corruption,
inflation or poverty. Stray dogs inhabit the Engineering campus, sleeping
underneath structures and wandering the quads during the day. Last week we went
to the Biology campus and found skeletons of buildings that have yet to be
finished (despite having broken ground 5 years ago).
Melissa asked about Gulf developments: I’ve been following a
little bit on CNN.com when I can, and was really intrigued by the move to make
BP give $20 million toward that fund. I kinda wonder what that would have
looked like if it was Exxon who was at fault, and not a British company. But
for local perspective, I’m sure it’s great news for Venezuela’s (and OPEC’s)
oil exports because they can either pick up the Gulf’s slack, or could
collectively just raise the price per barrel. A fun fact about oil in Venezuela
though: filling up your car costs the equivalent of 33 cents.
p.s. anyone get the star trek reference?